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Campus festival celebrating innovation posts call for proposals

Organizers of an all-day, interdisciplinary festival highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship are seeking proposals for lectures, panel discussions, art installations, workshops and other sessions for Innovation Summit 2017.

The event will take place at locations across campus Friday, Oct. 27, which UO President Michael Schill has declared UO Innovators’ Day.

Students, faculty members, alumni and community members can apply online to organize and lead sessions through the event website at www.uoregon.edu/innovation-summit, said Kate Harmon, program manager for the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship and a lead organizer of the festival.

“This initiative is intended to highlight the latest trends and thought leadership across all disciplines — from the arts and humanities to the sciences, media, law, business and education,” Harmon said. “Every discipline has elements of innovation, which is not limited to inventions or startup companies but can extend to new methodologies, processes or frameworks for understanding research or new ideas.”

“The event is about revealing all that is new and innovative across campus and getting people excited to develop their own entrepreneurial mindset,” Harmon said.

The Innovation Summit coincides with homecoming and Fall Family Weekend, and organizers are hoping to draw alumni as well as current students, faculty and staff. The range of sessions already confirmed include a “Science Slam” organized by the College of Arts and Sciences, a “fireside podcast” with Troy Campbell, assistant professor of marketing, and an unusual elevator pitch competition for new ideas that will take place on the running track at Hayward Field.

Attendees will be able to select tracks with different themes to follow throughout the day. The tracks will combine workshops and activities with speaker presentations and networking opportunities, Harmon said.

Fall Family Weekend runs Oct. 27-29. It is part of the UO’s Parent and Family programs, which provide support and partnership to the university’s extended Duck family. For more details see the website.

The original idea for Innovation Summit grew out of an introduction to entrepreneurship class in the Lundquist College of Business. Students read the Phil Knight autobiography “Shoe Dog” and envisioned a campuswide festival that would serve as a catalyst for others to get involved in entrepreneurial pursuits.

They proposed the theme “Where Crazy Ideas Get Lit” — a reference to what Knight called his “crazy idea” — and worked with Harmon to lay the initial groundwork.

Harmon worked with Andrew Nelson, associate professor of management and associate vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation, and Matt Roberts, senior director of community relations, to develop a steering committee and an organizing committee that included faculty members from a range of disciplines. Schill voiced his support for the event and encouraged the campus community to participate.

“The University of Oregon is a community of innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, writers, artists and makers,” Schill said in a written statement. “It is when all these creative forces come together to collaborate that we are at our very best. This is the environment in which ideas turn into innovations. In that spirit, the UO is proud to host the Innovation Summit and I declare Friday, October 27, ‘UO Innovators’ Day.’”

Students are the primary intended audience for Innovation Summit, but the event will have widespread appeal, Harmon said. In addition to spotlighting opportunities for students, it will showcase faculty research and alumni innovators and engage the local community.

 “The goal is to connect participants to ideas, resources and each other,” said Christopher Shiroma, a student in Harmon’s entrepreneurship class and one of the event organizers. “Ultimately, it will underscore the idea that everyone can be an innovator within their own area of interest.”

Stay tuned to the Innovation Summit 2017 website for updates and a complete event schedule. For more information, contact Harmon at kharmon2@uoregon.edu.

By Lewis Taylor, University Communications